Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Substance Abuse
Depression and Social Support/Strain in African American Teen Mothers
(School of Public Health (UMD) Family Science Doctoral Student)
PURPOSE: Teen mothers are at higher risk for negative mental health outcomes such as depression. Few studies have addressed the impact of support and strain in the teen mother’s relationships with her own mother and the father of her baby (FOB) on her mental health. The primary aim of this study is to examine the relationship between support and strain from a teen mother’s own mother and FOB and her symptoms of depression. METHODS: Subjects (n=150) were African American teen mothers, mean age 17.5 years, who were enrolled in a study evaluating the effectiveness of a family-centered medical home intervention. Participants were interviewed at baseline/program enrollment when their children were infants, and again when their children were 12 months old. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Support and strain were measured with the Social Support Network Questionnaire. Statistical analyses included predictors measured at baseline and outcomes measured at 12-month follow-up. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptoms was 29% at baseline and 39% at 12 month follow-up. Logistic regression models indicate no significant effect of support and strain from the teen mothers’ own mothers on whether teen mothers were depressed. Adjusting for teen mothers’ age and education status, there was a trend-level effect in which teen mothers perceiving more support from the FOB at baseline were less likely to report clinically significant depression over time (AOR = .52, p = .09), but strain with FOB was not associated with maternal depression. CONCLUSIONS: In this sample of teen mothers, support and strain with their own mothers did not significantly influence maternal depression as previous research has indicated. Support in the relationship with the FOB was protective against the onset of maternal depression over the first year post-partum. These findings support the need for interventions targeting co-parenting among urban African American parents.